Under the influence of Rome, Provence prospered greatly – the towns of Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Orange and Vaison-la-Romaine boast magnificent remains of arenas, amphitheatres, spas, and villas….amongst the best preserved in all France.
There are other spectacular examples of the Roman influence in the area such as the Pont du Gard and the Roman town of Glanum. We list the best monuments in the area.
Description: This is possibly one of the best preserved Roman towns. Originally built by the Greeks before the birth of Christ, the Romans found the plentiful water flowing off the Alpilles mountains to be perfect for drinking and of course for their baths. The baths survive today, as well as Roman temples and forums. There is a visitor centre on the site that explains the history.
Location: Situated just over 1km south of St Rémy-de-Provence.
General info: Modest entrance fee of €6.50* per adult with under 18’s free. Open until 18.30 in season (Apr – Sept incl.), at other times telephone 04 90 92 23 79 for opening hours.
Our recommendations: There is no shade so you are recommended to go later in the day in mid-summer to avoid the heat.
For the children: There are plenty of opportunities here for the children to let off steam and to play hide and seek amongst the ruins. You are free to wander around the site at your leisure.
Description: Situated in the Rhône valley, the ancient theatre of Orange, with its 103m long facade, is one of the best preserved of all the great Roman theatres. Built between AD10 and AD25 the Roman arch is one of the most beautiful and interesting surviving examples of a provincial triumphal arch from the reign of Augustus. It is classified as a Unesco world heritage site.
Location: Just east of the A17-E15 autoroute, 21km north of Avignon. The Roman ampitheatre is located in the centre of the town.
General Info: Website. Entry is €4.40* for adults, €3.50* 7-17 year olds and under 7’s free. Special offer of 1 free child for every 3 tickets bought. Open 9.00-19.00 in summer months and a bit earlier rest of year.
Our recommendations: If you want to save a bit of money, avoid it and climb to the park above and behind it. You will get some good views of the theatre, of Orange and of the distant Mont Ventoux. For more atmosphere visit Orange on Thursdays (market day).
For the children: There is a nice play park in the park above the theatre.
Le Pont du Gard
Description: Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, the Pont du Gard was built by the Romans as part of a 80km long aqueduct to carry fresh water from the Cévennes to the town of Nîmes. It is one of the most popular attractions in France, with more than 1M visitors per year, although it copes well since the construction of large car parks on both banks as well as an attractive visitor centre with shops, restaurants and an interactive children’s centre. Take care of your children by the river!
Location: Just off the N86 where the D981/D19 leaves for Uzès.
General Information: The site is free to visit although there is a parking charge of €5*. It is quite a trek from the car parks to the bridge and river. There is a year round programme of events.
Our recommendations: There is plenty of entertainment here for a day out – make sure that you take a picnic! Look out for the 1000 year old olive tree on the walk down to the river. Also explore the slopes on both the left and right banks for stunning views of the bridge and Gardon valley. And make sure you leave time to view the re-enacted gladiator fights in season.
For the children: On the downriver side of the bridge there is a large expanse of sandy shingle where children can paddle. However swimming is not recommended.
Description: Attractions include a Roman theatre, excavations of ancient houses and stores, and the old Roman bridge (still the principal bridge over the Ouvèze River). The Upper Town has 13th century buildings and narrow cobbled streets which wend their way upwards to the ruined 14th century castle.
Location: Just to the north west of Mont Ventoux at the intersection of the D938 and D977.
Our recommendations: Visit on a Tuesday morning when the streets of the lower town are full of market stalls for the best and largest market in the region. Arrive early as it gets really busy and parking can be a problem.
For the children: In the second half of August there is a daily festival with music, dance and fireworks.
* please note that all prices are subject to change. Check the official website or contact the venue directly for actual prices
Here’s more information to make the most of your visit to the Provence:
- Attractions in Provence:
- Other Activities: